Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s former finance minister who transfixed Europe with his unconventional style at the climax of the debt crisis, launched a new party on Monday promising to free his country from debt bondage.
The academic economist – who once described the austerity imposed by Greece’s creditors as “fiscal waterboarding” – said his new MeRA25 party would revive the economy through debt restructuring and other measures.
Varoufakis’s regular criticism of eurozone policy and his anti-austerity stance angered Greece’s creditors and brought the country to the brink of a euro exit in 2015 before he resigned.
He won a measure of celebrity through his combative stance, though there have been no recent polls to test whether that will be enough to take his party past the 3-percent threshold to enter parliament.
Greece was living as a “debtors’ colony,” which would eventually lead to its “desertification,” Varoufakis told reporters at a central Athens theatre, his black shirt still untucked.
He said the debt-strapped country had suffered a quadruple bankruptcy – a bankrupt state with bankrupt banks and households and nonviable businesses “where everyone owes to everybody else but no one can pay.”
“Our young people learned to live on 400 euros a month or look to emigrate. We will not repatriate them with debt relief alone as [the creditors] are promising us,” he said. “Once your human capital has left, you are bereft.”